How to Help First-Graders Prepare and Adapt to School

Fr. Dr. Schlaukind
Die Frau Doktor "Schlaukind" ist habilitiert für das Fach Psychologie und Autorin von zahlreichen wissenschaftlichen Artikeln und methodischen Handbüchern zum Thema Entwicklung der Kommunikationsfähigkeiten bei Kindern. Seit dem Jahr 2000 praktiziert sie in der Kinderpsychologie und Sprachtherapie. Um die Diskretion der Patienten zu bewahren, publiziert Sie auf diesem Blog unter dem Pseudonym Dr. Schlaukind.
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Entering school is one of the most important and challenging periods in a child’s life. The transition from kindergarten to school can be an emotionally challenging situation due to all the changes in life, including increased psycho-emotional stress. Even kids with emotional maturity sometimes have difficulties adapting to school life. Parents and teachers can play an important role in easing the transition process by helping first-graders have adequate preparation for school.

Adaptation to School

Adaptation to school includes the acclimatization of the child to the new conditions and school rules.  First-Graders

School is a new social institution for a child, where everything is different, including:

  • new educational activities such as learning to read and a first introduction to math
  • new schedule of the day,
  • new environments: classrooms, dining rooms, etc.
  • new teachers with different communication style,
  • new classmates: a child will meet new people and form new relationships.

Adapting to school can last from several weeks to several months, but on average, the transition process takes ~2 months. During this time, a first-grader learns a lot of rules and social norms related to behavior in the classroom, assignments, and communication with teachers and classmates.

Criteria for Successful Adaptation to School

Assessment of the first-grader’s adequate preparation for and adaptation to school includes subjective and objective criteria. Objectively, one can look at the child’s productivity and success in educational activities, involvement of the child in school life, his or her social status among classmates (friendships, microgroups, leadership positions) as a measure of successful adaptation. The subjective criteria of assessment of adaptation to school includes the emotional health of the child, how active is a child at school, his or her physiological conditions and satisfaction with studies.

So, the main indicators of successful school adaptation of the child are:First-Grades

  • positive attitude of the child to school,
  • adoption of school rules and regulations,
  • academic motivation,
  • good emotional state of the child and overall positive emotional condition,
  • adequate behavior in the classroom and during free time
  • Difficulties in Adapting to School

From the first days of school first grader faces a number of problems that are associated with the personality of the teacher, the classmates, the new regime of the day, the strict school rules, etc.

During the adaptation to school, the child may feel disappointed or insulted. All these problems might also manifest themselves in different ways: failure at school, reduced motivation to study, unwillingness to go to school, negativity, laziness, distraction, etc.

Difficulties in Adapting to School

From the first days of school, a first grader may face a number of problems associated with the personality of the teacher, the classmates, the new regime of the day, the strict school rules, etc.

During the adaptation to school, the child may feel disappointed or insulted. All these problems might also manifest themselves in different ways: failure at school, reduced motivation to study, unwillingness to go to school, negativity, laziness, distraction, etc.

How Teachers Can Help First-Graders Adapt to School

It is important for the teacher to remember that the child is new to the school system and the main tasks for the child at this stage are to adapt, develop new skills, learn activities, and communicate with other children and adults.

The task of the teacher is to provide a harmonious transition period for the child, during which they will learn the school rules through a variety of situations.

It is vital for a first-grader to feel as though they have the ability to master any new skill or activity, so a teacher should encourage the self-confidence of the child.

To a great extent, it is the teacher who is responsible for establishing a friendly atmosphere in the classroom and encouraging a positive attitude without fear of making a mistake.

The interpersonal relations of first-graders often depend on the pedagogical style of the teacher. An open-minded teacher inspires children to communicate with their peers, which adds positive incentives for communication in the classroom.

Remember: a first-grader wants to perform well and be “good”, and if they do not succeed – it is a stress and disappointment for the child. A teacher’s praise for the student is a hugely important incentive, so always find something to compliment, and only after that, give critical feedback on what can be improved!

Of course, all the efforts of teachers are nothing without the collaboration with parents. All adults around the child should act together: only uniform rules and requirements will help the first-grader to adapt to school.

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